China mutual fund closures hit record amid clean-up

SHANGHAI • China's clean-up of its shadow banking system is fuelling a record number of liquidations in its US$1.9 trillion (S$2.6 trillion) mutual fund market.

More than 600 funds have been closed this year, surpassing all liquidations in the previous 12 years combined, data compiled by Bloomberg shows. It is also more than triple the total last year, representing a sharp rise in closures for a mutual fund market that has grown more than fivefold since 2011 in assets under management.

China's crackdown on entrusted loans, the No. 2 source of shadow banking, and an ailing stock market have contributed to the record liquidations, say analysts. China's stock market is headed for its worst year since 2011, with the Shanghai Composite Index down more than 20 per cent in the year to date.

"A lot of the mixed allocation funds are quite flexible in investments and favoured by entrusted loans, so the crackdown on such loans led to closure of related funds," Morningstar analyst Huang Wei wrote.

More than half of this year's tally came from liquidations of mixed allocation funds, followed by 206 in fixed income and 72 in equity, Bloomberg compiled data showed.

Tougher regulation of "mini funds" which had less than 50 million yuan (S$10 million) of assets under management also quickened the pace of liquidations, said an analyst at Z-Ben Advisors.

BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 19, 2018, with the headline 'China mutual fund closures hit record amid clean-up'. Print Edition | Subscribe